As I’ve been rolling through these draft previews, I haven’t talked at all about the team. Despite the win last night, they are in the midst of a terrible slump, still playing worse than I imagined, but still hitting the crap out of the ball. They’re still 3rd in the NL in runs per game (which, by the way, is way down at 10th in the majors). And I still think they are better than their record indicates. Their -6 luck suggests they should be 20-30, which is still pretty awful. But I don’t think they are even that bad, and I expect something slightly better (although not GOOD) from the bullpen in the future.

Jesus is Out

The big news this week is probably the injury to Jesus Flores. He’s an integral part of this team, and now he’s out 3 months minimum. It’s a shame because this is now the second season in a row that he has missed significant time after looking like the real deal. What’s important now is that he gets healthy so he can help this team contend in the future. Meanwhile, the Nats probably will stick with their backups as starters. It’s going to be, for the most part and despite what happened last night, a hole in the lineup. It will be painful to watch, but it just isn’t worth trading anything of value away to help the catching situation this season.

Dukes is In

Elijah Dukes came back last night and hit a key RBI double in the crazy 8th inning. And if you saw it, you know it was about 1 foot away from a HR in one of the deepest parts of the park. He also walked once, picking up where he left off on that regard. Dukes was hitting very well until mid May, when he slumped a bit and got hurt. Hopefully he’s back to his April self, when he hit .279/.355/.500. He should be a big part of the future of this team. Whether he succeeds here for years, or gets traded for something else good, those big numbers are important, and I think they will continue. Let’s hope he keeps hitting.

Ron Villone is not Unhittable

It only appears that way. Villone’s ERA of 0.00 through 14+ innings is nice, but it won’t last. He’s a very good reliever – if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be in his 15th season in the majors. But his career ERA is 4.69 so let’s not get ourselves worked up. However, let’s appreciate what he has done. He’s brought a veteran presence to the bullpen and asserted himself as a leader in the clubhouse. Hopefully the rest of the bullpen can piggyback his success in some way so that when he returns to normal, the Nats won’t be reduced to 0 effective relievers. The last week or so, the bullpen hasn’t looked bad, so maybe he is starting to have an effect.

By Charlie